Nepal in Transition: Maoist and Madhesi Forum Clash, One Dies

Voice of Terai from the United States of America

The following is a press statement issued by ANTA (Association of Nepali teraians in America) NY chapter president Dr. Binay Kumar Shah in 20 Jan.

Association of Nepali Teraian in America (ANTA) has noted with concern the continuing disruption of normal life in the Terai region of Nepal. ANTA believes that the recent success of negotiations between the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) Government and the Communist Party of Nepal (M) leading to the promulgation of an Interim Constitution, Interim Parliament and the forthcoming Interim Government offers the best opportunity ever to restructure the Nepali state so as to reflect the best interests and aspirations of all Nepalis, including the traditionally marginalized people of the Terai region. ANTA firmly believes in democracy, fair political competition and proactive policies by national government as means to overcome the disadvantaged position in which the people of Terai have been relegated by the past regimes. Keeping a forward looking approach, ANTA sees the holding of the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections as central to forming an inclusive democratic system in Nepal.

Aware of the high stakes in a successful transition, ANTA calls on all the political leaders and Nepali people to show highest levels of tolerance, restraint and accommodation at this critical juncture of political transition. Welcoming the statements, as reported in the media, by the government leaders as well as the leaders of both factions of Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (JTMM) to engage in negotiations to resolve outstanding issues, we call for expedited negotiations to end violence and strengthen the democratic process. ANTA also shares The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Nepal’s concern over the arrest of Madhesi activists and political party members and calls for their immediate release. In the best interest of Nepal’s national unity and democracy, ANTA also calls on the government to
respond promptly to the legitimate demands of the people of Terai region including speedy distribution of citizenships to all those eligible population as the basis of representation, greater autonomy to the people of Terai region and better and visible representation of Terai people in all aspects of government. ANTA firmly believes that the overall development of Terai can only result in a stronger Nepal.

lahan maoist tension

Scene from Lahan, Siraha: Protestors burnt several vehicles.

UWB notice: It has come to our attention that some web sites and publications are using photos published in UWB without our permission. PLEASE do not do so.

By Bharat Jargha Magar

Siraha Distric Administration has clamped a curfew from 6pm today to 4am tomorrow in Lahan, Siraha and the surrounding regions after the entire locality grew tense following the death of a student during a scuffle between Maoist cadres and Forum for Madhesi People’s Rights. A 16-year-old student Ramesh Kumar Mahato of Majhaura, Siraha died when he was shot by the Maoist cadres on Friday at Lahan Chowk. The Maoist cadres opened fire following an argument between them and the forum activists killing Mahato. The forum activists were staging a demonstration at Lahan Chowk when Maoist cadres who came in two minibuses and a jeep accosted the demonstrators just before one of the Maoist cadres opened fire. Following Mahato’s death, a group of angry locals attacked the Maoist cadres. Shiyaram Mahato who opened fire was seriously injured in the attack. The agitated locals also burnt two trucks and eight other vehicles. The forum activists had been staging demonstrations since the morning protesting against the arrest of their president Upendra Yadav. Police later fired several blank rounds to control the situation and have detained two Maoist cadres. CDO Shashi Shekhar Shrestha said that a curfew order has been issued to bring the situation in the region “under control.” Despite the curfew, irked locals kept on staging demonstrations in several thoroughfares in the city.

lahan maoist tension

Questions we ask to Nepal government and Maoist:
1. Why are Maoist cadres still roaming around with arms?
2. Why both of you don’t start talking to groups like Terai Janatantrik Mukti Morcha (TJMM) [both Goait and Jwala Singh factions] and Forum for Madhesi People’s Rights (FMPR)?

Continue reading Nepal in Transition: Maoist and Madhesi Forum Clash, One Dies

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Moriarty Ka Kura: Democracy Doesn't Come From the Barrel of a Gun

united states ambassador james moriarty U.S. Ambassador James F. Moriarty participated in a roundtable interview today with journalists from several news organizations. At the beginning of the discussion, the Ambassador read a statement addressing recent developments in Nepal. Here is the text:

This has been an historic week for Nepal and its people. A new Interim Constitution is in effect, which the United States welcomes. A new Interim Parliament, the product of November’s historic peace agreement, also has been formed. And the Security Council is expected to pass a resolution committing the United Nations to help ensure free and fair elections in Nepal through arms and election monitoring.

The United States supports a robust and effective role for the UN in the peace process. The commitment of UN personnel and funds guarantees increased scrutiny from the Security Council and the General Assembly. Not only will Nepal benefit from the assistance of the world body, but all the Nepali parties and leaders involved in the peace process, including the Maoists, must take responsibility for their actions in front of 192 member states.

The United States welcomes the announcement that the Maoists will dissolve their “parallel government” structures and participate in joint local governments. Since promises have proven hollow in the past, to be credible, this commitment must be fully and immediately implemented.

The parties and the Maoists have signed on to the strict cantonment of Maoist fighters and weapons, placed limits on the Nepal Army, and committed themselves to holding a free and fair election to a Constituent Assembly later this year. The United States believes the arms management process must be completed in an effective and transparent manner before the Maoists enter an interim Nepali Government. No partner in a coalition government should expect to retain a private army. Destabilization, mistrust, and insecurity invariably would result.

Democracy comes from the consent of the people, not the barrel of a gun. As the Maoists are now represented in a democratic Interim Legislature, it is time they finally and completely renounce violence, intimidation, and extortion. The Nepali people deserve nothing less.

Maoists seek ‘crummy’ guns for lockup: Moriarty

By Tilak Pokharel

United States ambassador to Nepal, James F. Moriarty, has bluntly accused the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) of trying to acquire “crummy weapons” from the Indian state of Bihar for locking up in cantonments, while retaining the “modern weapons” they already have. “…they (Maoists) are – even as we speak – trying to buy primitive, hand-made weapons down in Bihar so that they can put crummy weapons into the containers instead of the modern weapons,” said Moriarty in a roundtable interview to a select group of journalists, at the American Center Friday.

Moriarty, who is known to be an outspoken critic of the Maoists, also said the Maoists went into a “big recruitment drive” in November, as instructed by their central leadership, to “come up with a whole bunch of new recruits to put into the cantonments”. Stating that the Maoists haven’t improved their conduct much even after they entered into peace negotiations with the government following the popular April movement, Moriarty said, “On several occasions, central leadership had given orders that were very much against democracy, very much against their commitment.” The US envoy also claimed that the “big recruitment drive” took place following the CPN-M’s central committee meeting on November 10-11.

“Probably they didn’t have 35,000 members of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), but partly because they also want to keep the PLA out of the cantonments to the extent possible. [It’s] not a good sign,” he said. “Another central committee meeting [took place] in Bhaktapur. Within a few days of that, nationwide, the Maoists began to push back the police posts that had been reopened. Obviously the central committee gave orders that no police posts should be reopened until they were in the government.” He, however, said that the United Nations does have ways of understanding the age of people trying to get inside the cantonments. “They can ask questions to try and understand whether they have really been in the People’s Liberation Army,” he said. “When we talk about complete and transparent process, [what] we mean is you really do end up with mainly combatants in the cantonments and really do have a bulk of the weapons in the containers. And, the UN knows what’s the bulk of the weapons are.”

Moriarty asked the UN to make sure that real weapons and real Maoist combatants are in the cantonments. “If you [UN] don’t need to run a count, you do need, at some point, to say we are coming close to that goal. You don’t need media people sitting around containers recording what is going on…but you do need the Maoists to really hand over the bulk of their weapons.” He also made it clear that he has no communication whatsoever with the palace these days.

‘Situation in countryside horrible, thanks to Maoists’

Moriarty claimed that, during his and his officers’ extensive visits to the countryside, they saw that the conditions there are “so horrible that extortions and intimidation continue, the parties are not allowed to act freely, internally displaced persons are not allowed to return freely by the Maoists”. While agreeing that the Maoists make up a political force “in this country” and the goal here is to bring them into mainstream politics, he said, “But they ultimately will decide [through their action] whether they come into the genuine political mainstream.” But, he said things are much, much better now than a year ago. “If the Maoists improve their conduct, it will be even better.”

‘Peace process at risk if Maoists join govt before arms mgmt’

Moriarty warned that if the Maoists are included in the interim government “without effective arms management, what we are seeing is that the peace process will be at risk”. He added that if the rebels are actually inducted in the government before the arms management process is completed in “an effective and transparent manner”, it will never be completed. “We worry that… they will try to intimidate the government into doing what they want. We worry that, under those conditions, Nepal has no hope of having a genuinely free and fair elections. No partner in a coalition government should expect to retain a private army.” Prime Minister GP Koirala said Thursday that the Maoist-included interim government would be formed within 20 days.

As the Maoists are now represented in a democratic interim legislature, said Moriarty, “it is time they finally and completely renounce violence, intimidation, and extortion. The Nepali people deserve nothing less.” While welcoming the Maoists’ decision to scrap all units of the “people’s government” and “people’s courts”, Moriarty said, “Since promises have proven hollow in the past, to be credible, this commitment must be fully and immediately implemented… Unfortunately, the Maoist actions indicate that they continue to rely on violence and intimidation rather than democratic politics. But we are all hoping that this [arms management] process will change that.”

‘No US support to Maoist-led ministries’

Moriarty reiterated his government’s position that if the Maoists join the government without “improving their conduct”, “we don’t want to be giving assistance that the Maoist ministries take credit for”. He also said that the US is not contributing to the UN Trust Fund for supporting the UN mission here. “…because the Fund is also going towards helping the Maoists directly. My government is not ready to do that,” he said. “My government has understandable reluctance just to be supporting, prime part of which will go to the Maoist leadership.”

‘I hope I’m wrong’ When asked if he was proven wrong in saying last year that the reaching of the 12-point agreement between the Seven-Party Alliance and the Maoists was wrongheaded, Moriarty said, “I hope I am proven wrong.” He, however, said the Maoists to date are not giving the people “much evidence” that they genuinely believe in demo-cracy and are willing to abandon violence. “I hope we have a process that will invariably lead them there.” He said he will welcome it if what he has said about the Maoists is proven wrong again. If the Maoists allow freedom to the people and parties in the countryside to carry out their activities, Moriarty said, “[If] Moriarty is once again proven wrong… for right reasons, I will welcome that.”

Govt rules out possibility of Maoists buying weapons from India

Jan 20 – The government today ruled out any possibility that the Maoists have acquired any weapons from India and retained their modern weapons. The government reaction comes a day after US Ambassador to Nepal James F Moriarty accused the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) of trying to acquire “crummy weapons” from the Indian state of Bihar for locking up in cantonments. Talking to journalists at a press conference in the capital today, Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula said, “I cannot believe that the Maoists have acquired weapons from India.” He said that the Maoists will handover all their weapons to the UN team. “The Maoists will not use any weapons (after they are locked up).” On Friday, the US envoy told a press meeting that the Maoists were “trying to buy primitive, hand-made weapons down in Bihar so that they can put crummy weapons into the containers instead of the modern weapons.” Home Minister Sitaula also said that the Maoist arms management would be completed within the next three weeks and the former rebels would then be joining the interim government. “The arms management will be done by the end of Magh, according to Nepali calendar (February 12) and that the government will be formed within the same date,” said Sitaula. (here is more)